While making arrangements for my interview today, the gal on the other end of the line asked if I liked dogs.
“Sure, I like dogs – I have a dog,” I replied.
She then proceeded to tell me she had five of them – in a very small house, a house so small that she then had to ask how many people I was bringing with me.
“Just me and my reporter’s notebook and a camera,” I replied. “No other people.”
Well, when I knocked on her door this morning, the dogs went crazy … all five of them, plus the recently rescued pooch she had housed in a kennel.
I, a self-proclaimed dog lover, was a bit overwhelmed.
I was ushered into the house, careful not to step on anyone’s toes, and given a chair to sit on. I set down my camera bag and made myself comfortable, and that’s when I got the scare of my life.
A lanky, lovable Great Dane named Sapphire came from out of nowhere and was suddenly nose-to-nose, eye-to-eye with me. I thought my heart was going to pound out of my chest – I thought I might fall over backwards with my chair. Then I reached out to pat her on the head and I had an instant friend for life. She was totally not interested in biting off my nose, thank goodness!
The Boxer, shorter and stockier than the Great Dane, was also intrigued by this new house guest. I had to pet it too and, in return, it left a couple of slobber marks on my black pants.
A blind pooch nearly knocked over the TV tray to get to me, and the Pit Bull seemed a bit disinterested in the excitement. The fifth and smallest of the dogs, Benji, seemed to want to get outside of its kennel and come to welcome me. It was OK that he didn’t though – four dogs at my feet (or my shoulders in the case of the Great Dane) was plenty!
As a reporter, I come in contact with a lot of family pets when I’m out and about doing interviews in peoples’ homes. Just the other day, I had a cat try to crawl on my lap while I was trying to take notes, and there have been times when I’ve kept one hand writing while the other patted the family pet standing at my feet. I don’t mind at all.
There have been times, however, when the family pet has put a good scare into me (even more than Sapphire the Great Dane). One time, I went to do an interview outside of Clements and was greeted by a fierce German Shepherd who not only jumped up on my car (while I was still in it), but he growled and showed his teeth too. Needless to say, the homeowner practically had to take me by the hand and lead me into the house … after she tied up the dog!
Another dog memory was going to a farm … I can’t remember where … and walking up to the front door after thinking the coast was clear. I no more than knocked when I heard the growl come from behind me.
On instinct, I shoved my hands into my pockets (I figure the fingers are the easiest appendages for a mean dog to rip to shreds) and prayed the homeowner was going to open the door. Thankfully, he came to the door just in time.
Of course, all of these owners say their dogs are the nicest animals and won’t hurt a flea (well, except for that homeowner from Clements – she told me their dog did not like strangers.) That may be, but over the years I’ve learned to be a bit less trusting of man’s (and woman’s) best friend.
But Sapphire, this giant of a Great Dane I met today, I’m not scared of her at all … well, except for that initial nose-to-nose greeting … and that other incident.
As I stood to leave, this dog – so big its nose was about even with my chest – jumped up and put her front paws on my shoulders. The move made her head tower over mine, and yes – I was quite intimidated.
It’s all in a day’s work, and I returned to the office with all of my fingers!
Still, do you think I should ask for hazard pay?